Tag Archives: family

Home for the Holidays: Unexpected Challenges

Filed under: College Life, Living, Seasonal Celebrations, Social Life/Relationships, Tips - Angelina
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Cameron Tranchemontagne BookRenter Blogger Biography

 

For many students, coming home for the holidays and winter break is a welcome reprise from the pressures of college. You get to eat home cooked meals, sleep in late in your own bed, and see old friends. However, students sometimes don’t realize until they get home that their expectations might not reflect reality. Being away from home for so long can make one forget their parents’ rules and expectations. Clashes between a student’s college lifestyle and the structures of home life are bound to happen.

Conflicts may arise over sleeping habits. There are few things more relaxing than sleeping in an extra hour or 2 than you normally would. However, it isn’t unreasonable to get up on time to help with chores or do a favor. Staying up late can always cause anxiety in parents, especially if you’re out of the house somewhere with friends. If your parents like to enforce a curfew consider discussing it with them to set it at a reasonable time for you to still have time to have fun and exercise new-found freedoms and responsibilities.

You may have also developed some sloppier habits while living in your dorm room. Generally, when you are home you’ll have to actually clean up after yourself, which is completely reasonable when you’re living in your parent’s or anyone else’s home. There are studies that say having a clean space can help improve your overall mood, which will improve your approach to everything from studying to getting along with your family at home. It is okay to be a little messy in your own room but the key is to not let it get so bad that it gives your mom a heart attack if she opens your door. If things start to smell, it is probably a good time to clean up.

You may have an enhanced social life now that you’ve been on your own for a while. Going out with friends all day or night is definitely fun but you should find a balance between going out with friends and socializing with family. Understand that no matter how much you enjoy being on your own, your family hasn’t seen you for weeks or months and they probably miss you. No matter how much you clash at home, they love you and want you to succeed. They deserve some of your attention too. Conversely, you probably have lots of friends in your hometown who miss you too and want to hangout before they go back to school for months. It can be hard to balance your social life back home, but it’s not impossible. Consider inviting your friends along if you’re doing something with the family.

Harmony at home is about compromise. Both the parent and the student need to recognize the expectations of the other and find a way to meet in the middle on most of them. Open and clear communication is one way to mitigate this. Keep talking to your parents. Let them know your plans and find out what theirs are. You must remember that right now is a transition time for you and your parents. You are a young adult learning responsibilities and individual freedom, but that may not always be easy for your parents to understand. Do respect their rules, but make sure you communicate honestly if you feel you are being treated like a child.

It’s always great to come home, but do remember these unexpected challenges!

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Alternative Ways To Celebrate The Holidays

Filed under: Fun Ideas, Seasonal Celebrations, Social Life/Relationships, Volunteering and Giving Back - Angelina
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BookRenter Blogger Biography Cameron Tranchemontagne

The holidays in the fall and winter are my favorite holidays. As I thought about why that is, I realized that gift-giving is low on the list of things I love about the holidays. I think the number one thing that makes Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa so special is the emotion. Maybe it’s the years of Christmas advertisements burned into my mind, but there’s something in the air that just seems to make everything more joyful.

My family celebrates Christmas. We get our Christmas tree a day or two after Thanksgiving, decorate it together as a family, buy gifts for each other, go to my Aunt’s annual Christmas Eve party, and then open presents Christmas morning and eat a hearty breakfast of bacon, sausage, eggs, hash-browns, and toast. This year we decided a change was needed. Instead of our traditional Christmas activities, we decided to scrap the gift-giving, forgo the Christmas tree, and forget the feasts.

These are some unconventional ideas for alternative ways to celebrate the holidays:

1. Family Outing

My family and I went on a vacation. Going on a trip with loved ones is a great way to get closer as you share new and exciting experiences together and create memories to last for years to come. I know I cannot wait to be lounging on the beach in the Virgin Islands with my family, soaking up the sun and fishing by day and having dinner by night.

2. More Than A Gift

My friend’s family has a pretty interesting tradition as well. They also celebrate Christmas, so they buy a tree, invite lots of people over for a pot-luck dinner, and they give each other gifts. However, these gifts are deeply personal and often take more effort than just going to a store and buying something. Some gift examples include a photo album consisting of pictures of the giver and receiver over the years, or a song written and recorded by the giver, or a playlist of songs that the giver knows the receiver loves. All these gifts are different but have one thing in common: they transcend consumerism and touch people on a deeper level.

3. Pay It Forward

Another idea for an alternative holiday is to “pay it forward” by giving the gift of a charitable donation in the name of the person you would normally just go buy the newest gadget for. Think of the good you’ll be doing if, instead of buying your 70 year old grandmother a smartphone that she will never completely understand, donate the money to Alzheimer’s research. Instead of buying dad a new tie, you could buy a months’ worth of dinner for a family less fortunate. If you are having difficulty coming up with a charity, the local food pantries always need help this time of year. I’m sure they would be more than happy to have volunteers.

Whatever holiday you celebrate, remember the true meaning is about celebrating with family, friends, and even the community. It’s about giving back and doing something special. If you could celebrate the holidays differently, what would you do?

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Staying In Touch For The Holidays

Filed under: College Life, Fun Ideas, Seasonal Celebrations, Social Life/Relationships - Angelina
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Bailey Buckingham BookRenter Blogger Biography

 

 

 

 

If you’re like me, and most college students, you can’t afford to fly everywhere to see the people you love during the holidays. The holidays are a time to share love with the people in your life that you care about, and sometimes if you’re not able to be with them, you have to be creative on how you show them you love them! Here are a few very simple ways that I have shown love and stayed in touch with family and friends during the holiday season, and you can too!

1. Christmas Cards

Websites like Vista Print, Shutterfly, etc. are cheap and allow you to design your own card. Or, just make your own! Sending cards are a fun, easy, and quick way to say hello to friends and family. My last Christmas card had a picture of me and three of my pets. On the back, I gave a brief description of how I was doing in school and how my pets were doing. This makes the people you send the card to, feel updated and loved by you!

2. Skype

Skype is one of the best ways to keep in touch with anyone, anywhere. I love it because it feels like you’re sitting across from the person you are talking to. A few years ago, I was cooking my first Thanksgiving dinner and my dad walked me through the whole thing on Skype! It made us both feel lucky to have that kind of technology. It felt like we were cooking together. Video chatting is one of the best things to do if you’re distant from your friends and family.

3. Surprise Gifts

This one may require you to save a few bucks, but it’s totally worth it for the people you love. Last year, we said we wouldn’t exchange gifts, but I sent my dad and step mom flowers and Christmas cupcakes that were delivered to the house. They felt so much love from the gesture, even though I was miles away. If you can’t afford much, then get creative! Send them a framed picture that you love of the two of you, write them a song, or whatever you’re talented at – use it as a surprise gift that will surely brighten their day!

Distance is hard all the time, but it is especially hard during the holidays. Tackle the sadness of distance and be proactive by showing the people you love how much they mean to you, no matter how far away they are!

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Staying In Touch While Abroad

Filed under: Social Life/Relationships, Tips, Travel & Abroad - Angelina
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Serena Piper Blogger Biography

 

 

 

 

Preparing for my trip to the Republic of Georgia has come with its tradeoffs. I had to leave a familiar town, a great part-time job I’ve had for three years, and most importantly, my family and friends. It was difficult saying goodbye to people who have been my support system for so long. I have gone from seeing them every day, or at least every week, to not seeing them at all. It has made me think of creative ways to keep in touch with them so that it doesn’t seem like it has been so long that I have not seen them.

If you are preparing for your own adventure abroad or doing some traveling, here are some suggestions for staying in touch with those you love:

1. Skype

This is an obvious option for anyone using a computer. Free calls with anyone anywhere and you can see each other face to face! Another bonus, Skype is the perfect way to still have meals together – you can eat breakfast while they are eating dinner!

2. Postcards

Postcards are inexpensive enough that you can stock up on them in craft stores, airports, trinket shops in your visiting country, or you can even make them yourself! Print your photo at 4×6, turn it over and write your message, then stick on a stamp and write your friend’s address where they would normally go on a postcard and pop it in the mail!

3. Email

Since you probably won’t have phone access (unless you pay the extra fee for international service), email is the next best thing. However, if you do have coins, try the payphone at a nearby cafe. Depending on where you stay, there will most likely be a phone available.

4. Video

A lot of people like to keep a video diary which they update weekly or even monthly. This is a fun way to bring life (and reassurance) to what you’re experiencing, instead of just writing words. It will also be something great to look back on when you arrive back home and to share with your friends and family.

Keeping a journal and/or online blog of your travels will also help when you don’t have time to write each individual person. Just send one email out announcing the blog link and let everyone know it’s the best way to stay updated because of your unpredictable schedule. They will be able to leave you comments and follow your day to day adventures.

Happy travels!

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Family Connections

Filed under: Social Life/Relationships - Angelina
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Blogger Bio

 

 

 

 

When was the last time you wrote an email to your grandma? Or sent a card or letter to your grandpa just to let him know how school is going? Or even called your aunt just to say hi? If you have been waiting for a sign, this is it.

As college students, we let homework and jobs get in the way of keeping in touch with family, or sometimes we might even use them as an excuse to avoid too many questions from probing family members. But too often I’ve asked my friends if they keep in touch with their family (other than just their parents) and too often I’ve heard “no.” They’re always surprised when I tell them how active I am with keeping in touch with my family, which makes me wonder: is it really that uncommon?

Each family is different and it is true that only so much can be done if your grandparents or other relatives aren’t active online, but we still have phones; don’t let the internet be the barrier between reconnecting. I get it, sometimes your family just doesn’t understand what you’re going through. However, even if it takes a minute or two to explain to them what’s going on, I promise it will be worth it. They may have been born 50, 60, 70, or even 80 years ago, but some things never change.

In the past, I have made the mistake of assuming things were way too different “back then” for my grandparents to understand what I’m dealing with right now. When I finally spoke up and told them what was happening, I was pleasantly surprised to hear their similar stories. After talking with them, I was able to see my situation in a whole new light.

It’s a chance to see them as not just family, but as persons of their own. Your grandparents and aunts and uncles are often the greatest untapped resource for advice – so use it while you still can.

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